Tonight at the CFDA Awards, actor Anthony Mackie said that the event really is the Oscars of fashion. As one of the few people in the crowd who has attended both ceremonies, he should know.
And it did seem like an abbreviated, less-hokey Academy Awards.
There were skits--Diddy starred in a short that introduced the menswear nominees--celebrity presenters--Isabella Rossellini, Jessica Biel--and even some heartfelt speeches.
Stay-tuned tomorrow for our round-up of the evening's best-dressed. And now, the winners:
Womenswear Designer of the Year: Marc Jacobs Can I say how well-deserved this was? Regardless of how we feel about his changed persona, Marc's Fall 2010 collection was one of his strongest in years. Wearable yet directional, it represented the Marc Jacobs brand at its best. In his speech, Marc thanked every single designer on the women's team, as well as everyone from his production manager to his publicist to his business partner Robert Duffy. And the speech was wonderfully hand-written on several pieces of paper, with letters so large the audience could see it clearly on the jumbo screen.
Menswear Designer of the Year: Rag & Bone This is when I got a bit verklempt. I was sitting a row behind the Rag & Bone boys--David Neville and Marcus Waingwright--as well as their wives, Gucci Westman and Glenna Neece. As nominees were announced, the foursome sat hand-in-hand, smiling and offering glances of encouragement. When Rag & Bone was indeed called and the guys headed up to the podium, the women clasped hands and and kept smiling at each other.
For some reason, this really got to me. It was just so obvious that these guys were a team, and that their companions were part of that team, and that they all had a ton of mutual love and respect for each other. And it made me really happy. Accessories Designer of the Year: Alexis Bittar Steff just spent a wonderful afternoon at Alexis Bittar's DUMBO studio, so I was extra-pleased to see the designer at the podium.
Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year: Jason Wu Wu was up against the incredibly talented Prabal Gurung and Joseph Altuzarra, so this might have been the closest category of the evening. He accepted graciously, telling the crowd that he would be pinching himself when he got home that evening to make sure that it was all real.
Swarovski Menswear Designer of the Year: Richard Chai Chai thanked his former employers--nominee Donna Karan and winner Marc Jacobs--as well his devoted staff. Oh, and Hayden Christensen, whom he dressed for the evening.
Swarovski Accessories Designer of the Year: Alexander Wang Nominated in both this and the Womenswear Designer of the Year category, Wang's still got incredible momentum. And this well-crafted accessories collection will allow him to push ahead even further.
Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Kors Anna Wintour presented this award to Michael Kors. More importantly, she told a story about how Michael once waded in the ocean for hours in order to avoid Ralph Lauren--who was vacationing on the same beach--because he didn't want Lauren to see him in his swim trunks. It was funny--and so was Anna.
International Award: Christopher Bailey Karan presented this award to former employee Bailey, who offered up one of his strongest collections yet for Fall 2010. It was lovely to see how much mutual admiration they have for each other.
Eugenia Sheppard Award: Kim Hastreiter Paper's Kim Hastreiter is awesome. And the short film trailing her day-to-day life--from her office to her famous dinner parties--made me want to be her protege. It also helps that she gave the best quote of the evening: "Just because you're cute and rich doesn't mean you design great stuff!"
Fashion Icon Award: Iman It was a treat to see a montage of images of the legendary model, from her early days to more recent shoots. Her look is still so incredibly unique, as is her exuberant energy.
Eleanor Lambert Award: Tonne Goodman So, my favorite ensemble of the evening? Hands-down it was Tonne Goodman's. She wore a black button down blouse tucked into a black sequined mermaid skirt (that I want to say was Ralph but I haven't yet confirmed. It was Michael Kors.)
CFDA Board of Directors’ Special Tribute Award: Alexander McQueen Sarah Jessica Parker gave a little tribute speech to McQueen, and it was lovely. As was the mini-runway show of his last collection, which brought chills down my spine. I felt privileged to be a part of the industry at that moment.
**All gallery photos by Ashley Jahncke.